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VW to face action for installing 'cheat devices'

SC dismissed plea to quash FIR by Skoda Volkswagen

VW to face action for installing cheat devices
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The FIR, has named the car manufacturer's top officials, for over installing cheat devices to misrepresent emission levels

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a special leave petition (SLP) filed by German car manufacturer Skoda-Volkswagen (VW) seeking to quash an FIR registered over alleged installation of cheat emissions devices in its vehicles.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde dismissed the SLP filed by the German car manufacturer.

Skoda-Volkswagen will have to face prosecution in case registered in Uttar Pradesh under charges of allegedly cheating and conspiracy, after the top court junked its petition to quash an FIR in Noida.

The FIR, has named the car manufacturer's top officials, for over installing cheat devices to misrepresent emission levels.

On November 4, the Supreme Court had queried Skoda Volkswagen (VW) India Pvt Ltd, why shouldn't the trial against it go on in an FIR registered in Uttar Pradesh over alleged cheat emission devices installed in its cars.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the German car-maker VW, submitted that in March, 2019, a penalty was imposed on VW by NGT (National Green Tribunal), which was stayed by the top court. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde replied: "I know, I was party to that order. But what that has to do with the criminal prosecution?"

Singhvi replied that vehicle was bought in 2018, and for nearly two and a half years there were no complaints. "While the NGT matter was pending, this FIR was lodged where the allegations are same as the application before the NGT," argued Singhvi.

The Chief Justice replied, "But, why should the trial not go on? NGT will not determine the correctness of your action."

Singhvi cited there are two allegations, installation of cheat device and environmental damage caused and citing stay on NGT order queried, "How can a new complaint start?"

The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian noted that a criminal complaint is filed as the citizen says I have been cheated and the NGT is a general order on cheat devices. "I( a citizen says) was told that there is no device in the car but it was there", observed Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice told Singhvi that prima facie the court does not agree with him. Singhvi insisted is criminal prosecution fair at this stage? They have also accused officers outside India, he added.

After a detailed hearing in the matter, the top court had reserved its verdict on quashing of FIR against VW for installing cheat devices in their cars.

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